Charcoal Memories

Drawing One Memory A Day For 100 Days

Most of us probably wish we could give up our mundane day job and dedicate our life to the thing we love doing most: Teresa Esgaio did just this. Last year she quit her job in television advertising and retreated to the sanctuary of her studio to draw full-time: she swapped budgets and briefs for charcoal, soft pastels and graphite powder.


Her latest series, An Elephant Never Forgets, is a 100-day project with each day dedicated to a different memory from Teresa’s past. It is not only an illustrated series but a diary, a visual recording of the little things in life that we wish we could remember but end up being enveloped in the endless ongoings of our existences.


The beauty of each drawing, each begun and completed within it’s dedicated day, is the simplicity of the memory – they are so wonderfully open to interpretation. From the branch of a tree to a pineapple, Teresa paints from her own memories but allows enough space for the observer to project their own life onto the piece.


She documents the series on a daily basis on her Instagram, keeping her followers up-to-date with the creative process behind each jarringly life-like creation. Her account serves as a reminder that we should endeavour to remember that which is easiest to forget.

The Plus: Tell us a little bit more about yourself?
Teresa Esgaio:
I am a full-time artist, I worked as a TV commercial producer for 5 years, until last year when I quit to draw full-time. I never had the time to draw and when I turned 30 and I thought “it’s now or never” – it had to be now.

TP: How did you start this series?
I was working on large drawings before that were taking me one or two weeks to finish. At one point I needed a different routine so I focused on a daily challenge that allowed me to start and finish one drawing each day. This is how the idea for this series came up. I downsized the scale of the drawings then and set a goal: 100 drawings in 100 days.


TP: How many images have you have drawn so far, and how often do you update the series?
Today was the 24th day, so I’ve completed 24 drawings so far. Everyday I post one picture of the process and then the final one version to my Instagram.

TP: How do you decide on the subjects you draw?
I learn a lot from every illustration and I never forget what I draw. So I decided to put together a list of little memories from my life that I wanted to remember: objects, sentences, a smell, a landscape and many little things I would like not to forget. I draw one each day: it’s as if I’m a competition with the elephant, elephants never forget.


TP: Why are the final images in black and white colour?
As I work in black and white, it just makes sense to me to use black and white pictures.

TP: What do you enjoy the most during the whole process?
Having a blank paper waiting for me everyday.

TP: You also work on video and photography, what else you have been working on lately?
As I mentioned before, I used to work in the advertising business but for now I am just 100% committed to the drawing.